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Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Verse 12. “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
I will present these vitally important verses in 2 segments. The FIRST segment deals with the Prophetic Nature of these verses. The SECOND segment deals with the Practical Nature and application of these verses.
THE PROPHETIC NATURE: Matthew 3:12 says, “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
THERE ARE FOUR POINTS GIVEN IN VERSE 12 WHICH ENCAPSULATES THE ENTIRE TRIBULATION PERIOD, BEGINNING WITH THE BREAKING OF THE TRIBULATION SEALS, CONTINUING THROUGH THE TRUMPET AND BOWL JUDGMENTS, INCLUDING THE WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT AND CULMINATING WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE 1ST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH WITH INTENSE HEAT.
(a) “His winnowing fork is in His hand: Cleansing, refining, purifying His Church.
(b) He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor: Preparation through tribulation.
(c) He will gather His wheat into the barn: Jesus gathering His Church through the rapture and taking us to our eternal Home.
(d) He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire: The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord and the destruction of the first heavens and earth. Listen and read carefully.
The Ultimate Purpose of God’s Eternal Plan is Perfection. He is maturing His people, of all the ages, by His Plan, to live in perfect harmony with Him and with one another. In the end, God is going to destroy this earth and heavens with an intense heat, and will create a New and Perfect heaven and earth.
Having become a Christian, a disciple of Jesus, you are no longer of this world. You are to take up your rightful place as a child of God, and as the righteousness of God, you must stop thinking as this world thinks. God is preparing you to be an active participant in the events of these Last Days.
THE PRACTICAL NATURE AND APPLICATION: John is telling us, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
This may well be one of the most important statements made by John, and one of the most overlooked in the entire New Testament.
Ask yourself, “Do you know what this means to you?” and have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit and with Fire?
First, about baptism: The word in the original Greek is “baptizo”, pronounced bap-tid’-zo. It means, in this case, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to overwhelm with permanent change.
This word is not to be confused with “bapto” which is to dip in or immerse in water, as to dip into dye, or to color. This is simply and change of the exterior.
The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptized’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change.
When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. (Mark 16:16). ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent, a coloring of the outside of a person, so to speak, is not enough. There must be a spiritual union with him, a real change, a permanent change which only the Holy Spirit can accomplish, is needed, like the vegetable to the pickle!
JOHN’S BAPTISM is the act of Binding, on earth. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18
Second, John is saying, in fact he is prophesying, that Jesus will baptize you – BAPTIZO – with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
We can see what is meant by this in the next verse:
(a) “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and
(b) He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and
(c) He will gather His wheat into the barn, but
(d) He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.“
A winnowing fork is an instrument used to separate the grain of the wheat from the chaff. It is a violent act of beating and threshing. This is symbolic of the process of salvation, sanctification and being made ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus will thoroughly clear His threshing floor. Nothing is left untouched. Everything will be “purged, purified and refined” and made ready for the Kingdom of God.
THIS IS FOR THE BELIEVER in preparation for what is coming upon us. This is your first and last line of defense against the evil day. You cannot and will not survive what is coming upon the world if you have not allowed Jesus to Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire!
(*NOTE: This is NOT some postmodern or contemporary reenactment of ‘speaking in some strange tongue’ and behaving strangely. It is NOT an elevation of your adrenaline or some ‘excited fit’ where you supposedly ‘take dominion over demons’. This IS an awesome and a fearsome act of God. It IS God’s steady hand, filling you with His power and Presence. It IS HIM doing HIS works through you. It is HIM speaking His Words and HIM doing His bidding through you, while you are quiet and yielded to Him.)
We can also see this prophecy given and this process described in
Daniel 12:1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Verse 2. “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Verse 10. “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”
These are prophetic pictures of Jesus Second Coming as Judge and Conquering King. In His first coming, Jesus arrived in the most humble of circumstances. His second coming, Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side.
Revelation 19:11-16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters, it is urgent that we understand
(1). What is coming.
(2). That it is already upon us.
(3). We are to be participants in these Last Days, and not standing idly by looking up into the sky wondering about His Return.
(4). He will prepare us to join with Him to complete His earthly mission and then
(5). Comes His Judgment
Your Brother and Friend,
The Next Teaching from Matthew 3:12, His Winnowing Fork